So as some of you may have gathered, I am up in Dumfries and Galloway at present, doing some scouting around. First few days of weather has been dismal. But what a beautiful and often overlooked part of the world this is.
Now those of you who have been away with me, know I have a penchant for getting off the beaten track (track being the operative word)! Basically, I prefer the minor roads, over time, these roads have become known as ‘K’ roads to fellow travellers. You will always get the best from these roads, meet the locals, see the wildlife and discover many a hidden gem! Now on Tuesday, Basil insisted on going to see ‘Sawney Beans Cave’. Up and down the A77 like complete galahs we went. Eventually finding it! By then, Basil had lost all interest! It was then my intention to head up to Girvan and back along the A714, as there was a ‘K’ road which I had spotted on the map and that was going to be the journey back to the cottage. After the A77 debacle, hunger was kicking in. Called at a farmshop, only to discover we were too late. So, on we went. By now, the rain had decided to prove us wrong, by raining even harder! And at 5pm, where were we ever going to find anything to eat or drink? Basil began to panic!
Not long before we reached Barrhill, we suddenly saw a sign, ‘Food’, ‘served from 4-11pm’, ‘bring your own Beer and Wine’! On went the brakes and a quick u-turn, which The Sweeny would have been proud of! Then took the right hand turn, into what appeared to be a drive of an estate or stately home? Yet, the sign said ‘Shimla’?? Oh what the heck, we must be right! The drive, turned out to be about a mile through spectacular private grounds (even in the rain)! Then, to be greeted, by the most impressive building! By now of course, we had figured out, that ‘Shimla’ must be Indian cuisine, but, in the middle of the Scottish countryside?? We drove round the sweeping bend, to pull up outside this grand building, perhaps the Laird may make us a Coffee and share some Dundee Cake? We found a door and headed in, to be warmly greeted by the Indian owner, Indian Chef, a young Scottish Waiter and we held the door open for a local farmer, who had just collected his takeaway! Surreal!
We walked through the grand entrance, to be shown, to what can only be described as a make shift dining room and an empty one at that! If we just wanted coffee and cake, then that is what they would happily serve us. Conscience began to prick a little and we thought it was only polite, to have something more. We decided on Scampi and Chips!
By now, we were joined by another couple. The man (we now know as Kevin), began to chat and we soon learnt that he was overseeing the renovation and helping with the grand plans for ‘Kildonan House’.
Kildonan, was built as a private house. The owners got divorced. The man would continue to live there, until his second marriage. Wife no2 refused to move in to it!
Kildonan, was then in the hands of Nuns. It was a convent and the Nuns taught there also. Not sure what happened to the Nuns, but it was then the entrepreneurs turn. Finally becoming the start of Shimla Restaurant.
After our history lesson, our Poppadoms and sauces were served! Kevin, also disappeared for a short while. Am suspecting this was to go get some Scampi for us! Which, was served shortly after Kevin’s return. Like I said, totally surreal to be sat in this grand room, virtually empty, paper tablecloths even! But, we ended up having a great meal and had even greater company! My only regret was, after seeing Kevin’s partners meal been served, I wish I had been a tad more adventurous!
There are great plans for Kildonan House and I wish them all every success with it. We are hoping for a return visit next week, even to include a tour of the house and grounds!
So, if you are driving along the A714, keep an eye out for it. Better still, go say hello and have a meal. You will not be disappointed!
Excuse the pics, they are with the iPhone x